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The London Recordings Vol. 1

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

The London Recordings Vol. 1

Format: CD
Label: The Lost Recordings
UPC: 0196587301422
Catnr: TLR 2203042
Release date: 03 February 2023
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2 CD
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Label
The Lost Recordings
UPC
0196587301422
Catalogue number
TLR 2203042
Release date
03 February 2023

"Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli’s recording of Ravel’s G major Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Ettore Gracis is one of the best of this work. Now the recording gets competition from Michelangeli himself, in a sparkling live recording with the LSO under Sergiu Celibidache."

Pizzicato, 04-2-2023
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
Press
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About the album

These recordings were unearthed from the BBC archives. All the restoration work has been done from the original analog tapes. The works presented here are from a historic session in the London studios on June 30, 1959.

For decades, pianists and musicians around the world have revered this recording, which was previously known only on video. It was important to us to finally release it on disc. While searching for the videotape in the BBC archives, we discovered the forgotten analog stereo tape from which we were able to restore this incredibly emotional moment in history.

London, April 8, 1982. The public is waiting in front of the Royal Festival Hall and hopes that the immense Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli will play - he who used to cancel his concerts at the last moment when he judged that neither of the two pianos accompanying him were able to render the colors that his mind and fingers had to sculpt. As for the BBC engineers, they wonder if they will be able to put their microphones and their cameras: Sergiu Celibidache has a deep aversion to recording, defending that music is an "Art of the moment" and that microphones are incapable of rendering all the harmonic richness and allow to understand his choices of tempi, determined by the acoustic parameters of the moment.

It will take not one but several miracles. They will take place that evening. The extreme demands, the vision of the music, the trust and the understanding that these two legends have shared since the end of the 1960s contribute to this.
The pianist's approach is that of a Prince. He shakes a discreet black handkerchief with both hands. Maestro Celibidache follows suit. Tonight, they perform Maurice Ravel's last orchestral work - his Concerto in G, which the composer planned to perform himself on "the five continents" before his frail health persuaded him to give it up.

To succeed in expressing beauty with such obviousness and simplicity is the prerogative of geniuses whose ability to suspend time is felt by the listener. How can one not remember these words of André Malraux when listening to the second movement?

"Art has the function of removing something from time, of suggesting the world of truths, with regard to which all human reality is only an appearance... to bring an answer to the questioning that poses to man his share of eternity".
Diese Aufnahmen wurden aus den Archiven der BBC ausgegraben. Die gesamte Restaurierungsarbeit wurde von den analogen Originalbändern durchgeführt. Die hier vorgestellten Werke stammen aus einer historischen Session in den Londoner Studios am 30. Juni 1959.
Seit Jahrzehnten verehren Pianisten und Musiker in aller Welt diese Aufnahme, die bisher nur auf Video bekannt war. Es war uns ein Anliegen, sie endlich auf CD zu veröffentlichen. Auf der Suche nach dem Videoband in den Archiven der BBC entdeckten wir das vergessene analoge Stereoband, von dem wir diesen unglaublich emotionalen Moment der Geschichte wiederherstellen konnten.
London, 8. April 1982. Das Publikum wartet vor der Royal Festival Hall und hofft, dass der große Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli spielen wird - er, der seine Konzerte im letzten Moment abzubrechen pflegte, wenn er der Meinung war, dass keines der beiden ihn begleitenden Klaviere in der Lage war, die Farben wiederzugeben, die sein Geist und seine Finger zu formen vermochten. Die Techniker der BBC fragen sich, ob sie ihre Mikrofone und Kameras unterbringen können: Sergiu Celibidache hat eine tiefe Abneigung gegen Aufnahmen, da er behauptet, dass Musik eine "Kunst des Augenblicks" ist und dass Mikrofone nicht in der Lage sind, den ganzen harmonischen Reichtum wiederzugeben und seine Tempowahl, die von den akustischen Parametern des Augenblicks bestimmt wird, zu verstehen.
Es wird nicht nur ein, sondern mehrere Wunder brauchen. Sie werden sich an diesem Abend ereignen. Die extremen Anforderungen, die Vision der Musik, das Vertrauen und das Verständnis, das diese beiden Legenden seit Ende der 1960er Jahre teilen, tragen dazu bei.
Der Pianist tritt auf wie ein Prinz. Er schüttelt ein diskretes schwarzes Taschentuch mit beiden Händen. Maestro Celibidache tut es ihm gleich. Heute Abend führen sie das letzte Orchesterwerk von Maurice Ravel auf - sein Konzert in G, das der Komponist selbst auf "allen fünf Kontinenten" aufführen wollte, bevor ihn seine schwache Gesundheit dazu überredete, es aufzugeben.
Schönheit mit solcher Selbstverständlichkeit und Einfachheit auszudrücken, ist das Vorrecht von Genies, deren Fähigkeit, die Zeit anzuhalten, für den Zuhörer spürbar ist. Wie könnte man nicht an diese Worte von André Malraux denken, wenn man den zweiten Satz hört?
"Die Kunst hat die Aufgabe, der Zeit etwas zu entziehen, der Welt die Wahrheit zu vermitteln, gegenüber der die ganze menschliche Wirklichkeit nur eine Illusion ist...".

Artist(s)

London Symphony Orchestra

Formed in 1904 by a group of 46 musicians who had resigned from London's Queen's Hall Orchestra because of change in policy, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is an ensemble of 'firsts.' It was the first orchestra in England to set up a self-governing administrative structure, the first to tour North America, and the first to accept commercial sponsorship. Known as one of England's most gifted and versatile ensembles, it is the resident orchestra at London's famous Barbican Centre. This and the fact that the LSO tours extensively; has provided music for countless films, radio broadcasts, and television productions; and records prolifically has helped to consolidate the group's reputation as one of the world's leading orchestras.  During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, London...
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Formed in 1904 by a group of 46 musicians who had resigned from London's Queen's Hall Orchestra because of change in policy, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is an ensemble of "firsts." It was the first orchestra in England to set up a self-governing administrative structure, the first to tour North America, and the first to accept commercial sponsorship. Known as one of England's most gifted and versatile ensembles, it is the resident orchestra at London's famous Barbican Centre. This and the fact that the LSO tours extensively; has provided music for countless films, radio broadcasts, and television productions; and records prolifically has helped to consolidate the group's reputation as one of the world's leading orchestras.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, London musicians worked on a strictly freelance basis, finding work where they could for the highest possible fee. In 1904, Henry Wood, conductor of the Queen's Hall Orchestra, decided that he could no longer tolerate the chaos of the situation and hired players as full-time employees with a small but guaranteed wage for about 100 scheduled performances a year. Many of the best musicians, who were in great demand and who stood to lose a significant portion of their earnings through this restriction, resigned from Wood's ensemble and formed their own, self-governing orchestra.

Soon after its creation, the LSO invited Hans Richter to be its first conductor. He accepted the position on the condition that the orchestra increase its number to at least 100 players. Although Richter conducted a great many of the orchestra's concerts during his eight-year tenure, the group also attracted numerous other distinguished conductors to the podium. These included Nikisch, Steinbach, and Elgar. In so doing, the LSO promoted the idea of guest conductors in English musical society.

Two years after its foundation, the orchestra played its first concerts outside England; two concerts in Paris. Under the direction of Nikisch in 1912, the LSO became the first British orchestra to tour North America, presenting 28 concerts in 21 days, beginning and ending with performances in New York's Carnegie Hall.

Over the next 50 years, the LSO was lead by a number of gifted and distinguished conductors including Sir Thomas Beecham, Albert Coates , Sir Hamilton Harty, Josef Krips, Pierre Monteux, Istvan Kertesz, André Previn, and Claudio Abbado. All of these men, in addition to the many guest conductors and artists invited to work with the LSO, left their marks on the orchestra; shaping and honing the virtuosity of its players into an ensemble of great sensitivity and versatility.

The orchestra's association with the film industry began in 1922 when Walter Wanger, head of United Artists, hired the LSO to play for the presentation of silent films at Covent Garden's Opera House. Since then, the ensemble has provided music for numerous films including the Star Wars series for which the LSO won a platinum disc.

The LSO's connection with the BBC goes back to 1924 when Ralph Vaughan Williams conducted the orchestra in the premiere broadcast performance of his Pastoral Symphony. The LSO was the unofficial orchestra in residence for the BBC until the formation of the BBC Symphony in 1930 and has continued to broadcast concerts and provide background music for many BBC productions.

When Michael Tilson Thomas replaced Abbado in 1987, he set about securing the organization's financial as well as musical future by encouraging the LSO to accept corporate sponsorship. Conducted by Sir Colin Davis from 1995 to 2006, who was succeeded by Valery Gergiev in 2007, the London Symphony Orchestra has long enjoyed its well-deserved reputation as a pioneer in several areas of British orchestral history and is a highly versatile and distinguished world-class ensemble.


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Sergiu Celibidache (conductor)

Composer(s)

Maurice Ravel

Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer who is often associated with impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer. Born to a music-loving family, Ravel attended France's premier music college, the Paris Conservatoire; he was not well regarded by its conservative establishment, whose biased treatment of him caused a scandal. After leaving the Conservatoire Ravel found his own way as a composer, developing a style of great clarity, incorporating elements of baroque, neoclassicism and, in his later works, jazz. He liked to experiment with musical form, as in his best-known work, Boléro (1928), in which repetition takes the place of...
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Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer who is often associated with impressionism along with his elder contemporary Claude Debussy, although both composers rejected the term. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer.
Born to a music-loving family, Ravel attended France's premier music college, the Paris Conservatoire; he was not well regarded by its conservative establishment, whose biased treatment of him caused a scandal. After leaving the Conservatoire Ravel found his own way as a composer, developing a style of great clarity, incorporating elements of baroque, neoclassicism and, in his later works, jazz. He liked to experiment with musical form, as in his best-known work, Boléro (1928), in which repetition takes the place of development. He made some orchestral arrangements of other composers' music, of which his 1922 version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is the best known.
As a slow and painstaking worker, Ravel composed fewer pieces than many of his contemporaries. Among his works to enter the repertoire are pieces for piano, chamber music, two piano concertos, ballet music, two operas, and eight song cycles; he wrote no symphonies and only one religious work. Many of his works exist in two versions: a first, piano score and a later orchestration. Some of his piano music, such as Gaspard de la nuit (1908), is exceptionally difficult to play, and his complex orchestral works such as Daphnis et Chloé (1912) require skilful balance in performance.

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Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin is one of the greatest composers of the Romantic piano tradition. He was a master in making the small form great. His ballades, mazurkas, polonaises, preludes, etudes and nocturnes all belong to the most popular standard works for piano ever written.  As a child prodigy, Chopin grew up in a middle class family, who lived among the literati of Warsaw. When in 1830 the November Uprising broke out in Poland, the twenty year old Chopin stayed in Vienna. He became an exile and never returned to his mother country. He eventually settled in Paris.  He avoided public concerts, but he did like performing in small settings, such as salons and at home for his friends. This way, Chopin built a...
more

Frédéric Chopin is one of the greatest composers of the Romantic piano tradition. He was a master in making the small form great. His ballades, mazurkas, polonaises, preludes, etudes and nocturnes all belong to the most popular standard works for piano ever written. As a child prodigy, Chopin grew up in a middle class family, who lived among the literati of Warsaw. When in 1830 the November Uprising broke out in Poland, the twenty year old Chopin stayed in Vienna. He became an exile and never returned to his mother country. He eventually settled in Paris. He avoided public concerts, but he did like performing in small settings, such as salons and at home for his friends. This way, Chopin built a reputation as an exceptional pianist, teacher and composer.
Chopin brought a unique synthesis between the Viennese bravado and the French/English lyric style. Even though his pieces often are technically very demanding, the focus was always on creating a lyric expression and poetic atmosphere. He invented the instrumental ballade, and brought salongenres to a higher level with his many innovations and refinements.


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Muzio Clementi

Muzio Clementi was an Italian composer from the Classicistic period. He was one of the first piano virtuosos who had a major impact on the improvement of the piano as an instrument and among his students were some notable pianists such as John Field, Ignaz Moscheles, Frederic Kalkbrenner, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. His compositions inspired Mozart and Beethoven among many others.  Clementi was born in Rome but stayed in London from 1766 on. From here, he undertook several large concert tours to all the musical centres of Europe. He is mostly known for his Sonatines and his didactic work Gradus ad Parnassum. 
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Muzio Clementi was an Italian composer from the Classicistic period. He was one of the first piano virtuosos who had a major impact on the improvement of the piano as an instrument and among his students were some notable pianists such as John Field, Ignaz Moscheles, Frederic Kalkbrenner, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. His compositions inspired Mozart and Beethoven among many others. Clementi was born in Rome but stayed in London from 1766 on. From here, he undertook several large concert tours to all the musical centres of Europe. He is mostly known for his Sonatines and his didactic work Gradus ad Parnassum.
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Press

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli’s recording of Ravel’s G major Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Ettore Gracis is one of the best of this work. Now the recording gets competition from Michelangeli himself, in a sparkling live recording with the LSO under Sergiu Celibidache.
Pizzicato, 04-2-2023

Play album Play album
Disc #1
01.
Concerto for piano and orchestra in G Major, M. 83: I. Allegramente
09:01
(Maurice Ravel) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, London Symphony Orchestra
02.
Concerto for piano and orchestra in G Major, M. 83: II. Adagio Assai
09:22
(Maurice Ravel) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, London Symphony Orchestra
03.
Concerto for piano and orchestra in G Major, M. 83: III. Presto
04:21
(Maurice Ravel) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, London Symphony Orchestra
04.
Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55: I. Ondine
06:00
(Maurice Ravel) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
05.
Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55: II. Le Gibet
05:57
(Maurice Ravel) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
06.
Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55: III. Scarbo
09:50
(Maurice Ravel) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

Disc #2
01.
Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 12, No. 1: I. Presto
06:45
(Muzio Clementi) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
02.
Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 12, No. 1: II. Larghetto con espressione
03:07
(Muzio Clementi) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
03.
Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 12, No. 1: III. Allegretto
07:29
(Muzio Clementi) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
04.
Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35: I. Grave - Doppio movimento
07:39
(Frédéric Chopin) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
05.
Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35: II. Scherzo
07:53
(Frédéric Chopin) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
06.
Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35: III. Marche funèbre
09:21
(Frédéric Chopin) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
07.
Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35: IV. Presto
01:35
(Frédéric Chopin) Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli
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